Sunday, January 17, 2010

Topping Out Party

Well, we have started the New Year with a couple of celebrations. The first one I will relay in this blog.

In building construction,topping out,or topping off,is a ceremony held when the last beam is placed at the top of a building. The term may also refer to the overall completion of the building's structure, or an intermediate point, such as when the roof is dried in or the last beam placed in place. A topping out ceremony is usually held to commemorate the event. While common in England, Germany, Czech Republic and Poland, the origins of the ceremony are obscure. The practice of "topping out" a new building can be traced to the ancient Scandinavian religious practice of placing a tree on top of a new building to appease the tree-dwelling spirits of their ancestors that had been displaced. The practice migrated to England with Scandinavian invaders and took root there. Its practice has long been an important component of timber frame building. This tradition also migrated to America with European craftsman. A tree or leafy branch is placed on the topmost beam, often with flags and streamers tied to it. A toast is usually drunk and sometimes the workmen are treated to a meal.

My husband, having retired from a lifetime profession in the construction industry, has held had many topping out parties for the buildings he has been in charge of constructing. It is a common practice in the States, but generally it occurs when a skyscraper or other large building has its last structural piece of steel in place. As a matter of fact the only time a tree was not placed on top of a building was when when Space Ship Earth at EPCOT, a project at Disney World Florida, was completed to this established. Since that building was round the workers hung a tree upside down at the center bottom of the building!

Back to the celebration! I don't know if this practice is something celebrated in Honduras or not but that did not deter Roland and Rody, the newly-married couple, from celebrating the completion of the roof on the top of their new home. Roland, being German, has fond memories of this custom and wanted to celebrate the building of his new home by having a "topping off" party, or Richtfest. Friends and workers were invited to partake and lucky for everyone a cloudy day was not ruined with rain.

While Roland and his Father looked on, in a few minutes they were joined by Roland's wife, Rody.

What were they looking it? This -

With the final beam in place and the tree located in the central position on the roof, one of the workers, Daniel, climbed to the top to make a toast in German which basically blessed the house and gave thanks for its completion thus far.

Everyone watched and listened with smiles and cheered at the end of the speech. Daniel, who is Honduran, lived in Germany for a few years and is fluent in the language but due to nervousness he had a few problems with his speech and finally had to resort to reading it. But it was a wonderful, heartfelt speech which we all enjoyed.

This was followed by a lunch for all the celebrants, with typical German fare, beer and soft drinks.

From their home, the newly-weds will have a spectacular view of the sea and, on a good day, the coast.

With the culmination of this celebration we want to wish the new couple a long, happy life in their new home and thank them for the opportunity to be included in this celebration.

Thanks to Anke for providing the above photos for my Blog.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the topping party Blog. Roland's house looks really nice.
    Good for him and Rhody.